Advocating for mental health

THE University of St. La Salle sponsored Psyconnect: A Forum on the Mental Health Bill last week. Senator Risa Hontiveros and Raymond John “RJ” Naguit, MD, RN were the speakers.

Dr. RJ, the national chairperson of the Youth for Mental Health Coalition, talked about what the youth can do for mental health. The first step is to educate one’s self on the mental health concepts by knowing the basics.

He shared the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

He also mentioned some other action points the young adults can do:

• Cut across advocacies and heighten sensitivity to diversity
• Know and apply non-specialized interventions
• Know to how handle psychological and psychiatric emergencies
• Promote access to help and access to social safeguards
• Address social stigma
• Organize activities for mental health
• Sustain projects through inclusive policies
• Choose kindness
• Practice self-care

Senator Risa spoke about the Philippine Mental Health Act of 2017 which she authored and was approved in May 2017. The Congress also approved it in November last year.

The Philippine Mental Health Law when signed by the President will:

• Allot a budget for mental health services in communities
• Provide mental health education in schools
• Protect the rights and welfare of persons with mental health needs

In a nutshell, every person will have an easier access to mental health services.

Many mental advocacies and students attended the forum.

Thank you, La Salle, for organizing this activity.
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